Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides says a full-fledge investigation will be conducted into last week’s death of a teenage boy in Nicosia, adding that a team already in place will focus on a number of state services and agencies.
The Cabinet approved on Thursday a request by Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, giving the go ahead to the ombudswoman to investigate the death of 14-year-old Stylianos, a boy who is thought to have committed suicide last week.
Stylianos’ dad found the body on the family farm in rural Nicosia, according to local media, one day before classes were set to begin. Additional reports said the father was too strict with his son, forcing the boy to be a bread winner in the family and even pulling him from school.
'This probe will also look at possible systemic flaws that led to the tragic death of a child,' the ombudswoman said
But media scrutiny over the apparent suicide also shed light on state services and agencies, after information was leaked that Social Services had been alerted about the family’s situation including domestic violence towards the boy and his mother.
Reports also said that there were too many people and agencies who were knowledgeable about the family, saying the boy and his two young siblings were living in appalling conditions while the mother was not able to cope mentally.
Emilianidou reportedly said that the family was on the state services’ radar back in 2007, adding that the investigation could last a couple of months.
“We are deeply troubled by the fact that the family was being watched through a programme for so many years and yet we reached this tragic outcome,” the minister said.
Probe in all directions
The investigation, conducted by ombudswoman’s office, is set to focus on many directions, including social services, mental health services, the police, as well as school psychological services. But Stylianou-Lottides told state radio on Thursday that any other agency that may be involved in the case will also be probed.
“This probe will also look at possible systemic flaws that led to the tragic death of a child,” the ombudswoman said, adding that it is necessary to consider all factors in order to have a full picture.
She also said that if any criminal or disciplinary offence is discovered in the course of the investigation, the case could end up at the desk of the attorney general.